Cowboys crush Sharks in Townsville

The North Queensland Cowboys have scored three tries in the last 12 minutes to defeat the Cronulla Sharks 36-20 at Dairy Farmers Stadium tonight.

Leading 10-8 at half time, the Sharks were always a chance and looked to be keeping their finals hopes alive.

But with the scores locked up at 20-all, Cowboys fullback Matt Bowen found room both sides of the ruck to step through and score a crucial try and then set up another to put away the visiting Sharks side.

The result see the Cowboys on 29 competition points and in 7th position while the Sharks can look forward to their end-of-season trip and watching the finals from the sideline.

Dairy Farmers Stadium, Crowd: 21,674 Referee: Sean Hampstead Forecast at kickoff: 40% chance rain, 14kph NE wind, approx 18?C

COWBOYS 36 Tries: Jensen 2, Williams, Payne, Bowen, Hannay Goals: Hannay 6/8 defeated SHARKS 20 Tries: Hilder, Rieck 2, Simmonds Goals: Hilder 1/3, Bird 1/1

By the clock: 0 min: Plenty to play for tonight for the Sharks as a top 8 spot is on the line after the Tigers defeat earlier to the Knights. The Cowboys win or loose cannot improve on 7th position but they will be looking for a win to get some momentum going into the finals. A close game expected.

Matt Sing returns for the Cowboys tonight while Nathan Merritt is out injured for the Sharks and David Simmonds will take his place.

1st Min: Kick off... Cowboys

1st Min: News Sharks knock on after spreading the ball wide. Cowboys on attack early.

3rd Min: News Drop out to Sharks after good pressure from Cowboys.

5th Min: PENALTY GOAL - Cowboys Hannay converts after a penalty for a high tackle. Cowboys 2 - 0

9th Min: NEWS Sharks blow a Try after a great break from Jason Stevens.

13th Min: NEWS Cowboys enjoying 70% possession.

13th Min: TRY Sharks Try to Matt Hilder after some flimsy defence around the rucks from the Cowboys. Conversion unsuccessful from Hilder. Sharks 4 - Cowboys 2

16th Min: PENALTY GOAL - Cowboys Sharks lose possession from the kickoff and give away a silly penalty. Cowboys 4 - Sharks 4

18th Min: NEWS Another penalty to the Cowboys. Sharks will have to stop giving silly penalties away to have any chance.

25th Min: TRY - Sharks Try to Matt Rieck out wide after a grubber into the in goal. Conversion successful from Hilder. Sharks 10 - Cowboys 4

28th Min: TRY - Cowboys Try to Jensen after he charged down a low kick from Kimmorley to run 50 metres and score. Conversion unsuccessful from Hannay. Sharks 10 - Cowboys 8

32nd Min: NEWS No Try to Sharks after going to the Video Ref, Sullivan dived at 2 defenders and was held up.

36th Min: NEWS Drop out to the Sharks after good pressure from the Cowboys. It's the 3rd drop out from the Sharks so far.

HALF TIME... The Cowboys have had the better of the Match so far, but have been unable to convert that advantage into points,the Sharks on the other hand have taken their opportunities a bit better. The last 15 minutes of the first half the ball handling from both sides was ordinary. Both sides will have to improve on that area to win. Possession: Cowboys 57% Penalties: Cowboys 6 - Sharks 3 Score: Sharks 10 - Cowboys 8

Second Half underway.

43rd Min: TRY - Cowboys Try to Ty Williams after going to the video ref, he put the ball down in the corner at the same time he hit the corner post. Conversion successful from Hannay after it hit the upright. Cowboys 14 - Sharks 10

46th Min: TRY - Sharks Try to simmonds after he takes the bomb and runs the length of the field to score out wide. Conversion unsuccessful from Hilder. Cowboys 14 - Sharks 14

50th Min: NEWS Off to the Video ref for a possible try to Vagana and the Sharks. REFS CALL. No try, held up.

56th Min: TRY - Cowboys Try to Aaron Payne after he ducks out of dummy half to score. Conversion successful from Hannay. Cowboys 20 - Sharks 14.

59th Min: NEWS Too many handling errors from the Sharks are giving this game to the Cowboys.

61st Min: TRY - Sharks Try to Rieck after an error from the Cowboys and the Sharks draw and pass to Rieck and the speedster runs the length of the field to score. Conversion successful from Bird. Cowboys 20 - Sharks 20

68th Min: TRY - Cowboys Try to Matty Bowen after he stepped through 5 players to score out wide. Conversion unsuccessful from Hannay. Cowboys 24 - Sharks 20

71st Min: TRY - Cowboys Try to Hannay after Matty Bowen makes a break from halfway comes to Peachey and tried to step and passes back inside to Hannay to score. Conversion successful from Hannay. Cowboys 30 - Sharks 20

75th Min: TRY - Cowboys Cowboys starting to run riot with Jensen scoring after some poor defence from the Sharks. Conversion successful from Hannay. The season is now over for the Sharks. Cowboys 36 - Sharks 20

FULL TIME... A thoroughly deserved victory to the Cowboys after too many handling errors and poor discipline from the Sharks. Matty Bowen completely dominated the second half to seal the win, Fien played well and rallied his players well while Tronc hit the ball up all night to create plenty of problems for the Sharks. A disappointing performance from the Sharks who are now finished for the year while the Cowboys will go into their first finals.

----------------------------------------- players of the match: 3 - M Bowen (Cowboys) 2 - S Tronc (Cowboys) 1 - N Fien (Cowboys) -----------------------------------------